So today we rented a chainsaw and a tall ladder from Home Depot. Ph.Mom went to go rent them, and brought the oldest and youngest of the gradlings with her; I stayed home and tried to rake, although I didn't have any more yard bags. So I raked them into discrete piles all around the yard. Ph.Mom came home and I swear I am not making this up carrying the chainsaw in one hand and the baby carrier in the other. I should probably let her know that this confirms that she truly is the woman of my dreams. The plan was to take care of some of the branches that overhang our roof and patch up a big hole at the top of our chimney. The idea is to keep rodents out of our chimney and attic, although I'm pretty sure I hear them right now anyway. Since I was the lightest adult present by at least a hundred pounds, it was I who spent the most time up on the ladder. My previous experience with chainsaws consisted primarily of watching that video where the guy plays a chainsaw solo.

The actual chainsawing wasn't so bad, although it was kind of scary having them come down, and I'm a little bit concerned that we're pushing the limit on what you can put out for bulky trash pickup. Oh, and between the falling branches and Gradling 1's endless devotion to confirming the second law of thermodynamics, my lovely leaf piles are... a bunch of leaves all over the ground.

The scary part was affixing the pieces of metal which I'm told are called "flash" to the top of the chimney. I'm not really afraid of heights, but it's not so much fun being on a kind of wobbly ladder that high up, particularly not while holding a hot pink hot glue gun. I have my doubts that this will be a solution to my problem, but it feels good to have attempted something. And hey, no one had to go to the ER, so that's a good day. On the other hand, I did almost slip and fall on toy in the yard, and I thought about how great it would be to survive ladders and chainsaws only to get sent to the Emergency Room because of a stupid kids toy.